Brush with Art: Museum putting the ‘POP’ in culture

Brush with Art: Museum putting the ‘POP’ in culture
Jean Wells’ “Taxi,” the artist’s glass mosaic interpretation of a Smart Car, will be unveiled at the Art After Dark: Vintage POP! interactive art event at the Oceanside Museum of Art Feb. 14. Photo courtesy of Oceanside Museum of Art

The Oceanside Museum of Art (OMA) has raised the fusion of cultural and social events to the level of fine art.

Dressed to the nines in vintage attire from the ‘50’s through ‘80s, guests of OMA’s wildly popular Art After Dark are in for sensory overload Feb. 14 as the Vintage POP! interactive event explodes at the Museum. Although costumes are not required, it is not uncommon for this event to attract well over 600 in attendance, many who are artfully attired for this extravaganza event.

Celebrating pop culture, the affair will be packed with a dizzying array of multi-sensory experiences including a DJ spinning favorites, live musical performances, fine wines and craft beers, enticing appetizers and desserts, interactive art projects, video montage projections, and a photo station to memorialize the experience.

Event guests will be first to view “Jean Wells: Icons of Desire,” an exhibition of contemporary pop-inspired sculptures created by internationally acclaimed Rancho Santa Fe artist Jean Wells. Known for sparkling large-scale mosaic sculptures inspired by iconic images of popular culture, Wells will be on hand to meet her enthusiasts.

On display at OMA through mid-June, Icons of Desire is the largest exhibition to date of Wells’ work. Over 60 mosaic glass sculptures, including a monumental Hershey’s Kiss that emits the fragrance of chocolate, will delight and tantalize viewers.

Often representing items related to her personal history, Wells discloses, “While most of my work is easy on the eye, and what we might call happy or fun, underneath the surface I plant the seeds for further thought and investigation.” While exploring nostalgia and relationships with everyday subject matter, she subtly hints at poignant themes such as consumerism and body image.

Wells continues, “Artists have always been the mirror of society, and in my case, I offer a playful, cracked mirror for people to find themselves in. If today our lives are fragmented and full of nostalgia for a time that seems just beyond our grasp, then artists have the chance or even a responsibility to illustrate that. My intention is to provide hope, challenges and meaning in the frantic media kaleidoscope of competing voices trying to grab our attention.”

Wells’ choice of materials reflects her training in the art of classical mosaics while working as a teenager with her father on the noted Saint Demetrios Greek Church in Seattle. However, she has developed a sculptural vision distinctly her own.

Audiences will delight in her playful sense of humor, which gives insight into the consumption of American popular culture. Jean Wells: Icons of Desire will be on view at OMA through June 15, 2014.

Don’t miss Art After Dark: Vintage POP! at Oceanside Museum of Art, Feb. 14, 7 to10 p.m.

Tickets ($10 for OMA members, $20 nonmembers) will be available at the door the night of the event. However, it’s advisable to make reservations in advance by calling (760) 435-3721. Ages 21 and up are welcome to attend.

The museum is located at 704 Pier View Way in downtown Oceanside. Visit for more information.

Kay Colvin is director of L Street Fine Art Gallery in San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter, and specializes in promoting emerging and mid-career artists. Contact her at                                                                




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